Worried over India's future, scientist P.M. Bhargava to return Padma Bhushan

VIJAYAWADA, ANDHRA PRADESH, 05/01/2014Founder Director of CCMB. Hyderabad P.M. Bhargava Photo: Ch.Vijaya Bhaskar   | Photo Credit: CH_VIJAYA BHASKAR

One of India's top scientists and founder-director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), P. M. Bhargava on Thursday said he had decided to return the Padma Bhushan award as he was worried about the future of India.

Mr. Bhargava told The Hindu that if the present trend continued, India would cease to be a democracy and become a theocratic country like Pakistan. "The future of democracy is at stake. I am very concerned about it."

The scientist said that he would return the award to the Ministry of Home Affairs along with a letter. "As a scientist that is all I can do," he observed.

He expressed concern over "RSS people" attending a recent meeting of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research labs. He was critical of the Government's decision to reduce funding of the CSIR labs.

Mr. Bhargava's decision to return the Padma Bhushan, country's third highest civilian honour, came after more than 100 scientists, including Mr. Bhargava, released a statement online expressing concern over the "climate of intolerance" and "the ways in which science and reason was getting eroded in the country."

Mr. Bhargava said, "I hold no brief for the earlier UPA regime and I criticised it in my book. However, you must give credit as they did not want to decide what we eat, what we wear and how we behave."

Scientific temper was one of the duties of the Indian citizens as enshrined in the Constitution in Article 51(h), he said.

Mr. Bhargava criticised ministers for looking for auspicious time to take charge. Various kinds of superstitions were being practised in various parts of the country, he noted. He recalled how people years ago believed that an idol of Lord Ganesha was drinking milk. "Later we proved it on TV that it was not."

He pointed out that an entire session of the Indian Science Congress was devoted to absurd claims that India in ancient times had built a huge aircraft with inter-planetary movements. He also found fault with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for stating at the Congress that India had known the technique of organ transplantation long time ago.

As a scientist it was his duty to promote scientific temper as demanded by the Constitution, he said. "I do not need publicity at this age," the scientist said.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 9:19:34 PM |

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